The focus in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on superhero action like the Battle of New York and heavy sci-fi concepts like a bunch of stones that control the spacetime continuum, but almost every movie has a romantic subplot piled on top.
As we’ve gotten to know these characters and see their journeys, we’ve also seen them fall in and out of love a bunch of times. Just like with any such franchise, some of these couples have been lovable and endearing, while others have been dull and boring. So, here are The 5 Best (And 5 Worst) Couples In The MCU.
10 Best: Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter
Steve Rogers’ love for Peggy Carter was right at the center of his MCU character arc. He left behind a lot of things in the 1940s, but his best friend also made it to the 21st century and he was able to continue being a soldier in the present day, so his biggest loss was Peggy.
While many fans were expecting Captain America to be killed in Avengers: Endgame, he actually got a much happier and more satisfying end to his character arc. Steve finally got to have that dance with Peggy that he’d been waiting 70 years for – and he got a lifetime of marital bliss with her, too.
9 Worst: Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter
This whole romantic pairing was a mistake from the beginning. It doesn’t even sound like a good idea on paper. Steve Rogers was frozen in the ‘40s when his romance with Peggy Carter was burgeoning and wasn’t thawed out until 2011. By then, Peggy was really old and soon to be on her deathbed, so Steve was alone – until he shacked up with her granddaughter, Sharon Carter.
She looked vaguely like Peggy and shared her DNA. The relationship had weird incestuous vibes and the producers wisely fazed it out of the franchise. But we’ll always remember that it was once a thing.
8 Best: Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne
Scott Lang has a pretty unique situation for a superhero in that he’s a divorced father. Superhero stories usually preach the traditional values of the nuclear family, so it’s rare that a comic book character finds love after they’ve been married and had kids.
His relationship with Hope Van Dyne got off to a rocky start in Ant-Man, but as it developed in Ant-Man and the Wasp and they became an ass-kicking superhero team, they became one of the MCU’s best couples. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are both incredibly likable actors, and they have brilliant on-screen chemistry together. The characters are a perfect match for one another and it’s a joy to watch them together.
7 Worst: Thor and Jane Foster
Ugh! This is mainly down to the MCU portraying Jane Foster as the most boring female lead in a blockbuster franchise since Bella Swan. It’s also partly because, prior to Taika Watiti’s contributions, Thor was the most boring Avenger, too.
It might have been a different story if Thor had been the funny guy from the beginning and Natalie Portman was given a character that her talent deserved. It was wise when the producers decided to cut Jane from the franchise, but one wonders if her romance with Thor could’ve been redeemed if they’d shared some scenes in Avengers: Endgame, which was the original plan.
6 Best: Black Panther and Nakia
Depicting a great couple on-screen takes a lot of things. The actors need to be great, they need to have chemistry, and they need to be likable – and Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o’s pairing as T’Challa and Nakia checks off all three. The way their romantic subplot is portrayed in Black Panther is unique, too.
It’s not about a nerd falling for the girl next door or two co-workers realizing they love each other like every other movie. The movie is actually set after they’ve been together and broken up, and now, they’re reckoning with the feelings that they still hold for one another.
5 Worst: Stephen Strange and Christine Palmer
Despite the rich bank of surreal visuals and trippy storylines to dig out of the comics, 2016’s Doctor Strange was a depressingly generic. The visual effects were spectacular and the magical characters were depicted as mystical as they could’ve been, but the origin story was formulaic and the romantic subplot was mind-numbingly mundane.
Despite Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams being separately great actors, they don’t have any on-screen chemistry. Stephen Strange was given a love interest for no reason other than to check it off the list of superhero origin story requirements. Their romance came and went without a trace.
4 Best: Luke Cage and Claire Temple
It was a real tragedy earlier this year when Netflix decided to cancel all of their Marvel shows, although it was more of a tragedy that we’ll never get see some characters again than others. While other couples on Netflix’s Marvel shows – namely, Matt Murdock and Karen Page, or Danny Rand and Colleen Wing – didn’t have any on-screen chemistry and were doomed to fail, Luke Cage and Claire Temple really had something.
3 Worst: Scarlet Witch and Vision
Captain America: Civil War took the two least interesting characters in the MCU – Scarlet Witch and Vision – and crammed them together in a romantic relationship. While the two characters are incredible in the comics, something about Wanda Maximoff’s boring, droll MCU characterization and Paul Bettany’s banal, monotonous line delivery as Vision have made them easily the worst couple in the MCU.
A memorable character being paired up with a forgettable character is one thing, but two forgettable characters is the worst of both worlds. Disney has announced that on their upcoming streaming service, Scarlet Witch and Vision will get their own TV series. No, thanks.
2 Best: Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner
No one saw the romantic entangling of Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner coming in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But once MCU fans got used to it, it seemed like a good fit. She’s the only one who can do the “Sun’s getting real low...” lullaby to get Banner back out of the Hulk.
He may have had his own internal struggle going on between Banner and the Hulk, but he really cared about her. They were the MCU’s very own star-crossed lovers. It’s just unfortunate that there was no way Natasha could date Professor Hulk, and then she died anyway.
1 Worst: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts
Whether or not Tony Stark and Pepper Potts make a good couple is actually a pretty divisive issue in the MCU fan community. But it’s pretty obvious that they’re not. Tony regularly puts Pepper’s life at risk – sometimes in her own home – and responds to constantly disappointing her by spending money instead of offering up his time and emotions.
When Tony grabbed an active missile in The Avengers and headed through a wormhole to possible die, his A.I. Jarvis asked him if he’d like to call Pepper and he said he might as well. That’s not a sign of true love – that’s a sign of being burdened by a terrible relationship.